How to Remove Algae From Drinking Water

Updated November 21, 2016

Many people these days prefer the taste of bottled water over tap water. Bottled water comes in hard plastic water bottles or large, 1-gallon or 5-gallon jugs which can be used over and over.

The only problem with bottled water is that the containers can become filled with algae, especially after multiple uses. Water with algae is visibly discoloured in shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or even red. It may also have a surface scum. Fortunately, bottles can be recycled, and there is also a simple solution to clean the algae from your drinking water.

Add 1 tsp of bleach to 1 cup of water. If you have a 1-gallon bottle of water or larger, double this recipe. If you do not have bleach, you can use hydrogen peroxide instead. Mix 3 tsp of hydrogen peroxide to 1 cup of water. Do not ever mix bleach and hydrogen peroxide together.

Pour the solution into your water container. If the container is a small water bottle, cover the bottle and shake it so the solution will swirl around and coat the whole interior. Fill the rest of the bottle up with hot water. Allow it to set for a few minutes, then completely rinse the bottle until the bleach smell is gone. Repeat this process until the algae is gone.

Pour the bleach solution into the 1-gallon or 5-gallon container and fill the remainder up with hot water. Let the solution soak for 30 minutes. If using a hydrogen peroxide solution, allow it to soak for an hour. Leave the bottle in a bathtub for easy rinsing. After soaking, rinse the bottle repeatedly with tap water until the algae and any bleach or hydrogen peroxide odours are gone.


Never mix bleach and hydrogen peroxide together. Never breathe in bleach fumes.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring spoons
  • Bleach
  • Measuring cup
  • Hydrogen peroxide
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Nicholas Nesler has worked in journalism for over 10 years as a reporter, photo editor and sports editor. Nesler has written for "The Batesville Guard" and the "Paragould Daily Press." His awards include the '07 FOI award from the APME. He received his bachelor's degree in journalism at Arkansas State University, Jonesboro and his master's degree in education at the University of Central Arkansas.